March 23rd, 2010
11:52 AM ET

Obama signs health care bill into law

[Updated at 11:55 a.m.] President Barack Obama has now signed into law a sweeping health care reform bill to enact the nation's most substantial social legislation in four decades and achieve a top priority of his administration.

Right before signing the bill Obama said the health care legislation is an "extraordinary achievement."

"We are not a nation that scales back its aspirations," he said. "We are not a nation that falls prey to doubt or mistrust. We don't fall prey to fear. We are not a nation that does what's easy. It's not who we are. It's not how we got here. We are a nation that faces its challenges and accepts its responsibilities."

[Updated at 11:52 a.m.] President Obama introduced the widow of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, who championed health care reform.

"It's fitting that Ted's widow Vicki is here, and his niece, Caroline, his son, Patrick, whose vote helped make this health care reform a reality."

Patrick Kennedy is a congressman from Rhode Island.

[Updated at 11:48 a.m.] President Barack Obama said he's signing the health reform bill on behalf of several people, including his mother - "who argued with insurance companies even as she battled cancer in her final days."

[Updated at 11:46 a.m.] President Obama praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional committee chairs,  saying, "We are blessed by leaders in each chamber who not only do their jobs very well, but who never lost sight of the larger mission. They didn't play for the short term. They didn't play to the polls or the politics."

[Updated at 11:44 a.m.] President Obama said that under provisions of the health care bill that will take effect this year, small businesses will receive tax credits to help cover insurance, insurance companies won't be able to drop people's coverage when they get sick, and uninsured Americans and  parents of children with pre-existing conditions will be able to purchase coverage.

[Updated at 11:38 a.m.] President Obama, greeted by applause from enthusiastic backers of his health care reform legislation, said, "Today after almost a century of trying, today after over a year of debate, today after all the votes have been tallied, health insurance reform becomes law in the United States of America."

Obama said he "is confident" the Senate will make improvements on the health care reform bill "swiftly." He said some health care reforms will take some time to phase in, but others will "take effect right away."

[Updated at 11:36 a.m.] Vice President Joe Biden, praising President Barack Obama's leadership in forging health care reform legislation, said, "Mr.
President, you've done what generations of not just ordinary, but great men and women have attempted to do. ...  "You delivered on a promise, a promise you made to all Americans when we moved into this building," the White House.

[Updated at 11:27 a.m.] Vice President Joe Biden, introducing President Barack Obama before the health care reform bill signing, said, "this is a historic day."

[Posted at 11:23 a.m.] President Obama is set to sign a landmark health care reform bill into law at the White House on Tuesday.

The measure is a huge boost for Obama, who made health care reform a top priority.

President Obama will use 20 pens to sign the bill into law - a symbolic and customary gesture - so that he can give away the pens later as an honorary piece of history.

Now that the House has passed the Senate's health care reform bill and a package meant to reconcile differences between the House and Senate bills, the next step is for members of the Senate to sign off on those changes.

See our complete health care coverage

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Congress • Health Care
soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. Unemployed Eng Mgr.

    Fix the VA hospital system first and I will support healthcare reform with open arms. I'm an unemployed Industrial Engineering Manager and if I actually had a job right now I focus on making systems more efficent and effective... removing waste. Let me at the VA, then Medicare – medicaid and I'll remove the waste out of the system.

    Remember that this passed by only 5 votes, which is a margin of around 1%. It would seem that most of the people want this to go slower and be done right.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joshua

    This seems vaguely familiar to a time when I can remember (D) Bill Clinton being praised over the concept of "houses for everyone" look where that got

    March 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TommyO

    The time now comes for me to cancel my insurance, pay the unconstitutional fine for not buying a free-market commodity, and just wait until I get sick. Then I will buy insurance and let the system pay for me. That is what its made for. So now I get to have the $10000 I spend on insurance for my pleasure, and let the lefties who are so stupid that they think this bill was a good idea figure out how to pay for me.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Average Joe

    Presidential leadership is showing the temerity to do the right thing, even if it's not politically expedient. Thank you President Obama for your relentless courage in finally provided a comprehensive health care program that will unquestionably save lives. You've restored my faith that Washington can still do big things.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. minime

    Thank you Mr. President! Congratulations to to those who stepped up and really represented us with their vote to make this a reality! We voted for you and now you voted for us! Thank you in the name of a family who really works their butts up and still felt like slaves of the system!

    March 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bigtick

    If you look at the big picture by him signing the bill has just created thousands of jobs in the medical field...more people (30 million) means more docs, nurses, xray techs, pharmacy techs, more admin jobs and list goes on and on. Call him what you want, but man he is one smart guy. Guess what when Medicare was introduced people reacted the same way!!! now what would we do if the govt decided to take it away..we would complain. There are millions of folks that have not been to the doctor in years to even get a simple check up and as for those that say "go out and get a job" guess what healthcare is getting to the point that you can't even afford to take it if you have anyone besides yourself.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kevin H

    At last unemployed Americans such as myself will at last have a chance to have health care. Amazingly the far right wingers, including our own state of Texas Attorney General is fighting this law as unconstitutional. I hope the country's judges have the good sense not to legislate from the bench. Judicial activism will probably prevail in Texas despite objections to the contrary from the far right.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bernadette

    Today is day that will be remembered for many years to come. Thank you President Obama, Thank you. I am perfectly healthy and no minor or major health problems. I currently have a health insurance and had been most of my adult life. With this historic health care bill into law, a lot of lives will change for the better, mine for one. I feel optimistic of the future. Now, I can venture to a new horizon without being afraid of having no health care insurance coverage as a safety net. I don't have to be stuck in the job I do not like and only stayed because of health insurance. I will come up with the monthly or however to pay for the health insurance without being attached to a certain company. I feel I can dream in peace. Thank you again Mr. President for your courage and being our president.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  9. sharon

    I am very proud of President Obama for sticking to his promise regarding health care reform. I for one have always had the best health care coverage till 2 yrs ago when something tragic happend causing me to be without coverage since then. I have been ill and was not able to get treated because of lack of funds. My situation will get better however, there are many people in America who do not have my qualifications. When and if I start to make $250k per year, I will be glad to have my taxes raised to help others. I do not see this as socialism. I call it being our brothers keepers, helping out our fellow human beings as the Lord God wanted us to do. I don't believe in just giving to people who don't try to help themselves, however, I would bend over backwords to help someone who is trying but just have a hard time getting to where they need to go.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Issah Z

    Hey my fellow neighbours to the South – United States – Welcome to the 21st century and you joining the rest of the civilized world of getting HEALTHY !

    March 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    If you think you are getting something for nothing, think again. You will see more of your rights go away. Rememebr the State of the Union address, Obama said the word "Freedom" one time. He does not say this word offten because he want to take it away. Everyone does not have to buy car insurance, if you do not drive you do not have to buy it. This health care bill makes you buy it even if you do not want it. By the way did you know that if your religion is Amish or Christian Science you are excluded. This is discrimination towards my religion. There goes the first admendment.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Geir

    USA, you should be prowd. You are the only wealthy country in the wourld that at the moment have a leader that don't care if his reelected as long as he do what HE think is right. The rest of us has to fight with those who do what the media and the polls tell them to do.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John from SC

    Nice for him to now try and sell what he has forced down everyone's throats. I don't believe the republicans earned as many votes as the democrates forced their way this time. If we look behind the president we may see republicans pulling his strings like a puppet. Follw the money. Obama alwasy talks about the insurnace companies being evil. Their stocks went up based on this !!! The correct answer is to fix medicare and medicaide and the VA then attack the rest of it all. Medicare is run so effienciently we need more people on goverment healthcare! ha. Always – follw the money trial.

    March 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. jim bean

    Now how is big Gov. going to pull this off ?
    The post office is broke ,Social security is broke!
    Medicare is costing ten times more then it did a decade ago>
    My car insurance was cheap before it was mandated by the state to have insurance?
    Mr president what promise do we as a nation have from you that this will not bankrupt the middle class in this nation?

    March 23, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Dan

    It's mind boggling for a Canadian like me to think it took the US so long for this to happen... Universal health care is something we take for granted here. It may not be perfect and is definitely costly, but it makes our society a little more civilized. Now, if you guys could get rid of guns next...

    March 23, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
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